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  1. #41
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    Jul 2006
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    Default Re: How to make wax foundation

    sometimes, having a camera gets you out of real work

    the biggest problem with both of these setups (at least for a newish beekeeper) is that it takes a LOT of wax to be able to dip the board(s) vertically.

    don fatbeeman has a different method...he melts his wax in a tub filled with water, and dips horizontally. the amount of wax needed is only enough to float on top of the water. at first glance, it seems that it is much more work, as each dip only yields one sheet...but after dipping in wax, he dips in a water bath...pulling the board out of the water (again, horizontally) pulls the wax off the board and you are ready for the next dip.

    i don't remember the yield, but with dee dipping, ramona embossing, and me trimming, we were cooking!

    the melting vats are simply small metal barrels in a thermostatically controlled water bath.

    deknow

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Pinellass County, Florida
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    1,104

    Default Re: How to make wax foundation

    kilocharlie
    You know that Plates can roll /stamp,So if you have too many pitfalls with mill roller, Printing Press??
    Make a giant Steam Roller with embossed plates,you now have a 4 foot X ?
    I forget your other numbers , you can stamp roll your foundation.
    You need to come to FL. I think I would like to venture into this,all I need someone with machining back ground?
    You Will also get a Pasta lesson
    I need to post a pasta sauce with honey receipe(not here)


    Tommyt

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Ojai, California
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    905

    Default Re: How to make wax foundation

    Deknow - This just keeps getting more interesting. I tried a small pan of water - results were not impressive. I'm sure there are lots of variables to consider, size of tub, operator (lack of) skill, water temp, etc. I think the volume of wax comment Barry made favors the multi-board, vertical dipping setup. Time will tell - its still early in the game yet.

    Tommyt - I'll take you up on that in about three years - I'm heads down committed to getting my stock population up and getting my @$$ up to Univ. of Calif. at Davis for some of Susan Cobey's classes on queen bee artificial insemination, and some more business credits. Time is at a premium while I'm still coming through first 5 years of a business startup.

    Like I offered to Roland, Barry, any others interested, we could in the mean time write up a business plan. I use the template from SBA (Small Business Administration)'s S.C.O.R.E. (Service Corps Of Retired Executives). From all I can gather, this business plan template gets lots of enthusiasm from investors, especially if your numbers are realistic and work out. Another aspect is assembling a team. The more management, technical, marketing, and beekeeping credibility we can muster, the better the chance of getting sufficiently financed to consider startup.

    Roland pointed some things out to me about the geometry that I was indeed wrong about. Straight, continuous cuts or impressions won't do it. I have come up with a quick and dirty cheater method of making a roller, though. I could have one some time next winter, but more likely the following year. If somebody with the right tools and machines in a shop gets enthused, it could happen sooner. Then, we'd still have to build the machine and the rest of the setup, and everything must not only work, but work well. Expect revision time.

    There really is no need for a big machine until we have a LARGE supply line of wax. The machines will take time and money to engineer, draft, cost, finance, build, test, and modify. Can your enthusiasm linger? It takes long-term enthusiasm, doing your homework, covering all your bases, the guts to start, and the grit to make it happen when everything looks like its going wrong. This thread is the 1% inspiration. Now for the 99% perspiration!
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 03-05-2011 at 12:18 AM.

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    3,539

    Default Re: How to make wax foundation

    a few thoughts.....

    1. I do know of a complete automatic line (liquid wax to trimmed embossed sheets of foundation) that might be available for the right price (probably in the $12K range). If your goal is simply to do foundation production, this would probably be cheaper than reinventing the wheel from scratch. This unit is not currently running and would need some TLC, but it's all there, and a proven setup from soup to nuts. I have some photos at home (I believe), but I'm not at home. I believe this is the same setup that Dadant uses. I don't know if it is for sale, but it is not being used...so there is some price that you could take it home for.

    2. Wax will be your problem. If I thought there was enough clean wax available to run the above machine, we would probably have already purchased it. I don't see a point in making more foundation that is contaminated with miticides...I do see a point in making inexpensive mills for individuals/clubs (see below).

    3. I have a few ideas for manufacturing mills at a low enough price that it would be practical for individuals and clubs...coupled with the horizontal dipping method, this would be even more practical, as having enough wax to dip a board vertically (and to keep it full) is a problem. I'm not quite willing to share (sorry), but if you have a budget to work with, we can talk. This isn't just "more of the same", but a whole new appraoch (not CNC, not EDM, not casting).

    4. There might be a way to knurl the mills _if_ you first cut three intersecting threads to remove most of the material (thinking about the geometry of this makes my head hurt).

    5. I do know a guy who is brilliant at building special purpose machines (a frankenstein approach with older CNC controllers). This is not a fly by night operation, and I'm sure that for a price he would build a special purpose machine to make the mills (probably with adjustable cell size). For my own purposes, I'd be better off purchasing a $2k mill than investing in such a machine, but I would be happy to put you in touch and be involved _if_ you have a budget to work with (I'd only want a few mills out of the deal, but this guy is the best and I don't want to waste his time without a realistic budget and a realistic chance that someone would actually pay him for his work).

    6. You should look at some old (1900 or so) "ABC of Bee Culture" books (find them for free on Google Books). There are good descriptions of the geometry involved that might give you some insight.

    deknow

  5. #45
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    Dec 2010
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    905

    Default Re: How to make wax foundation

    Deknow -
    Its starting to smell like there's enough interest here that a group of us should meet. Given the geographical diversity of those posting on this thread, I'm thinking video conferencing.

    I can handle the actual writing of a business plan, but I will need a price on the existing system, a price quote from the machine builder, and professional profiles from those who will be involved. I will also price out the "re-invent the wheel" approach, just to make sure all our options have been explored.

    A business plan is a request for money to investors. A billboard with a price tag. It will require a fair amount of realistic marketing research, so as to advertise a projected return on investment.

    More than one plan could be written - one for manufacturing foundation, one for making small mills. I anticipate that neither market is flooded, and the popularity of beekeeping is on the rise, so timing and conditions are likely favorable. We need to discuss the most important part of the business - competitive advantage, or why we are different and the way we do it is better. This part is better discussed of the record.

    Startups are more difficult to finance, as its all ontological pie in the sky - just a bunch if ideas. If we go through some effort and actually start doing something, call it a business, keep accurate books, turn it into a going concern...financing gets much easier.

    Until numbers have been crunched, markets are researched, a business plan is written, submitted to investors, and interest is shown, there is no budget. The machine builder would have to be willing to figure out a quote on speculation. If he's not willing to do that, I know a good number of machine and controller builders, some of whom might be willing.

    As to your ideas, keep them private for now, a patent would be a pleasant surprise after the company goes public with sale of stocks (shares owned by principals - including you and me - could go up in value when the public finds out that good things like patents happen to a company).

    Private message me with an email address and we can make arrangements to call or video conference.

  6. #46
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    Dec 2010
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    Default Re: How to make wax foundation

    Barry, err, Captain Sqkcrk - I tried to respond to a private message and the message I had just composed to Deknow double - posted. Sorry! Trim it if you can. - KC
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 03-05-2011 at 11:59 PM.

  7. #47
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: How to make wax foundation

    Woo hoo, I did it!! Boy was that fun. Scary too.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  8. #48
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
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    Default Re: How to make wax foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    I can handle the actual writing of a business plan,
    I would think twice about investing in a business with any guy with the word "Kilo" in his handle. My investment might go up in "smoke".

    If I wanted to market foundation from clean wax, I would for the first few years, just assemble the wax and contract with someone who has already invested in the equipment to manufacture it.

    I am not overly concerned about pesticides in foundation for several reasons. Foundation is made primariliy from cappings which do not contain much pesticides. The tainted wax is diluted by the clean wax. Pesticides degrade from old age. They would degrade substantially from the over 145 degrees required to melt the wax.

    If we had our bodies tested for the pesticides it already contains we would just spend the rest of our lives hiding in our coffins.

  9. #49
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    Dec 2010
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    Ojai, California
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    Default Re: How to make wax foundation

    ODDfrank, is your phobia against military phonetic alphabet or the metric system? Have you added a hookah to your bee smoker? Is it autographed by Cheech and Chong? Just teasin' back...

    Happy to have a good buddy to whom to sell the poison wax. Maybe the bees will use it to make drone comb.

    Your point is a good one, and my intention. I'll very likely utilize the lesson you passed along in the foundationless=hoax? thread to produce lots of clean wax, drone, honey, or otherwise. What better than foundationless frames to make clean wax? I guess I'd better start on a bigger solar wax melter first.

    Thanks for the ideas, bro!

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Pinellass County, Florida
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    1,104

    Default Re: How to make wax foundation

    Kilo
    Whats up on the Drawing Board are you doing Phone calls?
    Did DeKnow's machine give you all you needed opposed to
    a new??
    I know folks that have machine shops,I decided a few years ago
    to make Bullets,sometimes I come to a point when a special Mold
    needs to be made for a Odd ball ,antique or just a good old design,
    this is were a machinist comes into play and can be a dream come true,
    I'm not saying I want a piece of your pie
    I am more curious at this point,and as far as Ideas.
    I talk sometime without using the brakes that can be good or disastrous
    I may just make a Honey comb waffle iron that will become
    The greatest breakfast tool on the Planet


    Paul Harvey
    Gooooooooooood day




    Tommyt

  11. #51
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    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    3,539

    Default Re: How to make wax foundation

    ...I can't say that I'm interested in such a project.

    I'd be happy to hook you up with the existing line that I'm aware of....but it would be counterproductive (from the standpoint of the seller) to allow enough close inspection/measurements, etc to build a duplicate. Neither the seller nor I have anything to gain (unless there were consulting fees negotiated), and the seller is not anxious to sell.

    I'm definitely not interested in a "business plan by committee"...to much headache, too many personalities/visions/funding sources.

    If someone puts together a plan and funding, I'm happy to work as a consultant (either on a fee basis, or for a piece of the action...depending on the terms offered). Otherwise, we will persue this when we have some capital available on our own.

    I'm not trying to diss or discourage anyone, if you have your own ideas and your own plans, follow them (if they are good).

    ...but I will say that an affordable mill setup would have a large market, but a large production line will be dependent on a large supply of clean wax...something I don't think is feasible at this time, and even if it were, it would probably require a good amount of capital to secure...and even more if it is to be secured into the future.

    deknow

    deknow

  12. #52
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    2,612

    Default Re: How to make wax foundation

    Kilo-charlie - I spoke with my father today(89 years old) and requested he look for information in his OLD ABC-XYZ books about the first foundation mills. I will report back when I have an asnwer.

    Crazy Roland

  13. #53
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    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    Default Re: How to make wax foundation

    Regards, Barry

  14. #54
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    Dec 2009
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    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
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    Default Re: How to make wax foundation

    It all sounds very exciting but are these machines ( and cost) not better for a pretty big outfit?
    Here in Australia I can send in my wax ( reasonably clean) , pay 48 cents per sheet to clean the wax and roll/emboss the sheet and get it back.
    There are only so many hours in a day...

  15. #55
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    Dec 2010
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    Ojai, California
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    Default Re: How to make wax foundation

    Hello, everyone! I'm quagmired in moving pains, and thus slow to respond.

    Tommyt - Buon giorno. The drawing boards are on hold while I'm moving closer to the almond orchards. The 18 foot flatbed truck I'm buying gets low mileage, so moving is my best option right now. Later down the time road, I'll get a more fuel-efficient diesel.
    All who are interested will be invited to negotiations for a piece of the business pie. This project is still in preliminary discussion - a going business concern is perhaps 3 to 5 years away. Meanwhile, make lots of clean wax!

    Deknow - I understand you position entirely. A healthy dose of doubt is the first ingredient of a good investor. We'd sure like to keep a good mind like your's in the loop, though.

    Roland - Thanks for the additional research! Say "Hello" to poppa from us young whippersnapper beekeepers. Check out the link in Barry's post!

    Barry - WOW!!! That's awesome! I'm going to copy the article in large print and enlarge the engravings to poster size.

    Max2 - G'day! Those are exactly the kind of questions a business plan will be looking into. Business is all about competitive advantage - why what/how WE do something is worse, equal to, or better than what or how THEY do it. Can we do it better, more reliably, cheaper, or for a more inclusive market, etc.?
    Thanks for the doubts, I wouldn't want to leave any stone unturned before starting a business.

  16. #56
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    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
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    1,236

    Default Re: How to make wax foundation

    It seems to me that rule number 1 goes like this:
    You want to be the one selling the razor blades and/or the diabetes test strips.
    You do not want to be the one selling the actual razor or blood sugar meter.

    In bee keeping, it's the bees. Not the foundation. There is no turn rate on the foundation. You always need more bees.

    Don't get me wrong, known clean foundation would be a good thing. But ya ain't gonna get rich doing it.

  17. #57
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    Dec 2010
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    Default Re: How to make wax foundation

    My feeling is that there are lots of good uses for beeswax - people think up all kinds of things from candles to lipstick to bullet lubricants - but with bees disappearing in great numbers the world around, I can think of none more important than helping make more bees.

    I'm well aware that there are issues for and against the use of foundation, and for "clean" wax, but some people use clean foundation and some people use foundation exposed to miticides and other "non-natural" treatments. These people help make X many more bees on the planet, some of which swarm and go back to nature and survive.

    I'm aware that there are other sectors in the economy that will earn more money for the effort. I've also been a machinist, a carpenter, a millwright, a gunsmith, and an aircraft builder, none of which have made me rich yet. I owned a tree service, which was making me a lot wealthier a lot faster than working for other people.

    Beekeeping is experiencing a surge right now - lots of people are calling me asking for hives for sale, for lessons, and several investors are interested in getting a venture going. The foundation setup might be the aspect that sells the deal.

    I raise bees now. I doubt I will get richer than the Dadants by next year, or any time soon, for that matter, but a few years down the road, I will have all the machines that make all the parts of a beehive except the staples. If I can do this efficiently, others will buy the foundation, the hives, the bees, the queens, yada yada. If I don't do this, I will only be older and poorer.

    Thank you for the criticism, it really motivates me!

  18. #58
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    Dec 2009
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    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
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    Default Re: How to make wax foundation

    Hi kilocharlie,

    I would be last to discourage you to take on a venture in the beekeeping industry. I'm simply a little sad that I'm to old now to take that direction. I see a great future and would love to make boxes and foundations - I love the smell of both. There is nothing like the smell of newly worked wood and clean wax.
    For me - I will keep doing a little here and there to make sure I can go to sleep with the sweet scent of honey and the buzz of bees. Good luck to you!

  19. #59
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    Dec 2010
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    Ojai, California
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    905

    Default Re: How to make wax foundation

    G'Day, Max!
    How's beekeeping Down Under? Got all your splits ready for the fall? Spring is here and I'm catching swarms in my bait hives already.

    I've been hoping to catch an Ozzy 'keeper here on the web to ask about the Tarra trees and when they bloom. I've heard that it happens down in southern Western Australia and is far and away the largest nectar flow in the world.

    Do you know much about that? Its a good, long run from Queensland...

    I lived a year in New South Wales as an exchange student, but that was long before I started beekeeping (back when Malcolm Fraser was NSW premier and Johann Petersen ruled Queensland). Going into bees has renewed my interest in returning. Perhaps you could post some information on Tarra trees?

    I may move to Canada, as it has the 2nd highest honey yield per hive in the world, with daylight reaching to 18 or 20 hours, but Australia is tempting as it leads the world. I suspect that is largely due to the Tarra, as much of the continent is so dry.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 03-19-2011 at 03:49 PM.

  20. #60
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
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    897

    Default Re: How to make wax foundation

    I guess this is off-topic?
    I think you mean Jarrah (http://www.jarrahhoneyinfo.com/)
    I'm living on the opposite side if the continent and we sadly don't have any Jarrah.
    The season has picked up over here but we have a big issue with the SHB. Slowly learning to deal with them. We also had floods here and South and North and cyclones up North and bushfires in the South.... Lots of hives where lost.
    Here we can exoect some honey all year round. Never really big flows and each time a different taste. It makes for interesting beekeeping.
    Politica have changed too, but that is another story.
    max2

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